This is it! The final NBI link-love list that I'll be putting out this month. I promised NBI participants and interested onlookers that I'd be compiling all of the new (and newish/undiscovered) blogs that have emerged this month, as well as all of the terrific advice that seasoned bloggers gave. Here we go!
New blogs to check out:
Everyone says that gamer are entitled, ego-centric, loners or just not social-able. There are event in game and out of game that put a lie to this. This past week the gaming world lost an inspiration. Ribbitribbit has passed. For those not familiar with his story, it started with a modest request. The story ended this week and was passed on to the gaming community here.
A short time ago I saw this post about how someone was making an incredible journey and was immortalized in game.
The World of Warcraft and Diablo II have many NPC named after notable figures from Blizzard and the player community. World of Warcraft also has a couple of notable quests in game that no one should miss out on doing.
Alicia’s Poem - http://www.wowhead.com/?quest=11451
This quest pays tribute to a WoW player who died of luekemia.
Kyle’s Gone Missing - http://www.wowhead.com/?quest=11129
This quest was added as part of Ezra Phoenix (Ephoenix) Chatterton’s Make-A-Wish visit to Blizzard headquarters. Ezra got to design this quest, which is given by Ahab Wheathoof.
Often groups will get together to have in-game events for charities such as Child’s Play, Heart and Stroke and many others. To protest the ending of Mass Effect 3, players set up a Facebook group and fundraiser to to be donated to Child’s Play as a way bring attention to what many felt were poor choices for the ending. That event raised over $80,000.
With all the bad news in the gaming world this last few weeks, 38 Games and Bioware SWTOR layoffs and Diablo III launch issues, it is important to remember that there is good in games as well.
Recently we have had two very good games release that have resulted in a huge uproar. Both are basically single player games with co-op modes. Mass Effect had a huge fallout for the ending, that most if not nearly all people found lacking, to put it politely. Diablo III is having a huge fallout for players not being able to get into the game.
I posted a bit about both games earlier The Mass Effect Effect and What is Wrong With Gamers. I have seen multiple posts about both games and about gaming in general that seen to say this is leading to the downfall of gaming or throwing around things like gamer entitlement. What many people seem to forget is that games are written to make companies money. Companies stay in business by making products that people purchase or subscribe to. I can’t see Blizzard or Bioware folding anytime soon, unlike 38 Studios.
Bioware is producing a DLC to better clarify the ending of Mass Effect 3 and Blizzard Customer service is all over teh forums and Twitter trying to help with players getting into Diablo II. Blizzard has pulled down the servers several time to apply patches and do restarts to fix login issues. I saw one person complaining about them pulling down the servers in primetime instead of accepting it as a way to allow other to ejoy the game by applying fixes. Any support such as this is a huge cost to companies and does not make them money.
The problem with Mass Effect 3 seems to be mis-communication or lack of communication between the writers of the game and the players. Parts of the story are missing or hidden. This lead to an ending where many questions are unanswered or new questions created. Hopefully this will be addressed in the DLC.
The problems with Diablo III seem to stem from a fact that most people are ignoring. Everyone complains about the need for a persistent internet connection to play which is causing many of the login/connection issues. This is need for one simple fact, Real Money Auctions. If the game was offline, hackers could theroetically, hacking to item data base and start generating items to sell on the auction house. By having a persistent connection, Blizzard are able to control item generation and not allow people to start printing their own money so to speak.
Bioware’s DLC does nothing other than add to player satisfaction which promote customer loyalty. Blizzard fixes allow people into the game to enjoy the product. Again this leads to customer satisfaction. Both will lead to customers purchasing further product in the future.
Another little tidbit is comping to light about Diablo III. There is a large number of accounts being hacked. Anyone with an authenticator is safe but anyone without one is sort of asking for trouble. Remember your account is worth more now as it is not just virtual currency being stole but your real world cash as well. Blizzard has a good post up on the Diablo forums with tips to secure your account. http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5149619846
I have seen too many people hacked in WoW and although the accounts can be restored and item restored this will not happen in Diablo III. Sure accounts can be restored but cash will most likely not be restore (too tempting to try to scam the system). I am sorry but if people have a few problem logging into the game due to extra security, I am OK with that.
This week saw the launch of Diablo III. As with any launch, there were a few hiccups. May people had issues downloading or installing the digital version. Many more people were getting errors trying to sign in to the game. Blizzard has already had to take down the severs a few times, only 2 days into the game. They are post information on the bugs found and possible solutions on the website and linking to social media.
I signed up for the Annual Pass and got my game for free. I was in the Beta for several months. I downloaded the installer weeks ago and was able to actually install the game the day before it went live. As I live in the Atlantic Time Zone, it went live as 4AM. I decided to wait and play in the morning instead of staying up all night. When I got up, I logged into the game and proceeded through Chapter One. The only issue I had was when they took down the servers.
It seems like I was the exception to the rule as everyone is online, screaming and yelling, posting video about how bad Blizzard is and that the game is ruined. There are pages and pages of complaints in the forums and on websites. Twitter seems to be nothing but complaints about people who cant play the game.
Recently Blizzard released their earning and there are a few items that bear on this issue. They stated that Diablo had set a new record for pre-orders. With many people, such as myself, signing up for the Annual Pass, either for the mount or guaranteed Mists Beta access, there were approximately a million people with free copies of the game, going from the Beta invite numbers. I don’t know the actual numbers but I and guess that there were anywhere from 1-2 million people trying to access the game when it launched.
With that many people try to get in, of course there are going to be issues. It seems all the problems are on the North American servers, the ones with the most players. I don’t really care about all the ranting from may people about the game, I am just enjoying the game itself. Blizzard have done their usual good job and I am enjoying the look and feel of the game.
Addendum: The issues with Diablo are being blamed on the DRM requiring a persistent connect. With looted item being able to be sold for real world currency, I don’t blame Blizzard for tight control. If the item database was part of an offline game, hackers would soon be generating items on demand and it would be a licence to print money.
For anyone on Twitter and not following @BlizzardCS or @Diablo, please do as they are pushing out updates about theses issues as quickly as they can.
Here is a great forum link they posted for anyone having issue, downloading, installing or connecting to the game. http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/4904620655
When the Burning Crusade expanasion was released, we had the opening of the Dark Portal event and we fought back the demons for a week. When Wrath of the Lich King was release we had the Scourge Invasion for two weeks marked by the zombie plague and Scourge attacks on Stormwind and Ogrimmar. With the release of Cataclysm, we had three weeks of tremors, cultists and elementals invading.
For each expansion, the pre-release events have been lasting longer and are more elaborate. It is going to really interesting to see what they come up with time. Rumor has it that there will be an increase in tension between the Horde and Alliance forces. The results in the attack or possible destruction of Theramore. I can there might be possibilities for Open World PVP in contested zones such as Ashenvale, Arathi Highlands, Northern and Southern Barrrens to name a few.
With the previous expansions, there has always been an external force, demons, scourge or elementals attacking both sides. This time around I think we will be attacking each other in escalating battles all up and down Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms. I can’t think of any other way for an event to be staged at this point.
Back in early spring, a couple of my co-workers convinced me to start playing Mass Effect. I started out with ME1 a couple of characters in ME and once I had one all the way through the game, I imported it into ME2. Next thing I know, I have 5 characters run through ME1 and then ME2, all with different story choices. I was eagerly awaiting the release of ME3.
I loved the way your choices in each game effected the story line in the next game. Character would not appear and would be mentioned in the next as having been killed. Pick a back story of being earthborn and get a certain quest line or pick station born and get a different quest line. This choice follows you into the next game as well. Talk to a fan, complete all the interactions and he appears in the next games. Don’t complete all the interactions and he doesn’t appear.
I took the day off for the release of Mass Effect 3 and played my way through. The game was every bit as good or better than the first 2. Familiar characters appeared, storylines were continued or wrapped up. You get messages for people you had met in the previous games. A nice feature was added for those with iOS device, the Mass Effect Datapad. It allows you to receive twitter-like messages from character you interact with when you complete certain stages of the game. Some are hilarious, others a bit sad. It is also an easy way to build up war assets by completing fleet missions on you iPhone/iPad.
I started hearing a lot of grumbling about the ending of the game as people rushed through to complete the game. Everyone was loving the game up until the last few minutes. I heard petitions were being written to change the ending, people were creating dozens of threads on the forums discussing the ending and if it was possible get get a different ending by getting the best possble outcome for every mission, side quest or PVPing.
It took me a few days to get to the final ending. I get to the final choice, made my decision and sat there in shock as the final cut scene played out. I could understand what all the furor was about now. I felt like uninstalling the game, the previous 2 games as well and asking for my money back. The ending was such a disconnect from the rest of the game. It was like the final 10 minutes was written by someone who had no contact with the previous games or even the rest of the current game. Choices I had made over the course of 3 games that had effect ed the entire story line, suddenly did not matter. Then I watched the final cut scene and a few more things jumped out at me. People were in locations the had no way of being, the Normandy was in a bit where it had been and no reason being where it was. My reaction was and still is WTF!.
Bioware, being the company it is, was following all the feedback on the forums, Twitter and other media and has stated that it was surprised at all of the feedback. They did listen and have stated there will be a free DLC to be released that will CLARIFY the ending for people, not change it. Here is hoping it will allow all of us to make sense of the ending!
I have read few a few of the introductory and advice posts by some of the sponsor bloggers and a few things seems to come up repeatedly so I thought it might be a good idea to stick them all in one place.
1) Pick a subject that YOU want to read and write about, not what you think others want.
2) Images are always a good thing to have but in moderation.
3) Tags and categories should always be added.
4) Stick to some kind of schedule whether once a month, once week or 2-3 times a week. It is OK to write posts in advance or have several in the works so you can finish one up to be able to stick to your schedule. (I installed a desktop reminder program to pop up and remind me to post until I find myself sticking to a schedule).
5) If you think of a post subject, write it down, start a draft or even write the post but don’t throw it out until you play around with it a bit to see if will work as a post but don’t forget about it.
Like many others, I am currently playing around in the Mists of Pandaria Beta and though I would share a few thoughts. This is not my first beta. I participated in the betas for Fallen Earth, SWTOR, Rift and Tera. I have also played a couple of recent demos from Mass Effect 3 and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.
I have leveled several toons through the Panda starting area and created a pre-made level 85 to test out the level 85+ content. Overall, I have had few issue other than the Burning the Scroll quest, that everyone was stuck at for several days, and a couple of bugged quests, including one that is sometimes bugged on the live servers as well. Of course there are the times that I could not log in and the usual server disconnects that as sort of expected. The spawn rates on many of the quests mobs are jacked up high enough that there is usually not much difficulty in finding enough mobs to kill. In some cases when there are not a lot players logged in, the spawn rate is a bit too high and you have a bit of difficulty in getting away from the mobs. I have noticed that the class balance is off, even in the starting area but haven’t really played around much at the higher levels.
The big thing that I have noticed between this beta and other or even demos is that things are actually buggy and you don’t really have to look hard to see things are off. Other betas I have been in, usually appear much more polished and have fewer bugs. It may bee that I did not get into those betas until later in the testing cycle. I am more inclined to think that those betas were being treated more like demos than betas. Several other people have mentioned this as well. One of the best write ups I have seen can be found here, although leaning more to getting beta access as a perk of pre-puchasing. http://www.manaobscura.com/2012/04/11/pre-purchase-for-beta/
Are developers using beta access and another demo or are they actually seeking help in developing a better game through thorough stress testing in a beta?